ANALYSIS: The Economist Says Muslim Brotherhood Has Lost Qatar As Patron; We Disagree


The Economist magazine has published an articled titled “Islamism Is No Longer The Answer” which details the defeats suffered recently by the Muslim Brotherhood and asserting that Qatar no longer serves as its patron. The article begins:

Qatar Flag
Qatar Flag

December 20, 2014 It was all smiles in the Qatari capital, Doha, when leaders of the Gulf Co-operation Council met on December 9th. Unusually, the annual summit of the six-member club of Arab oil monarchies packed more politics than pageantry. It marked the official healing of a deep rift between Qatar and its neighbours. More accurately, it confirmed the small but immensely rich host nation’s retreat, under sustained pressure, from an activist foreign policy its neighbours viewed not only as irksome but as downright subversive.

For the past decade Qatar had given quiet, generous and persistent support to the Muslim Brotherhood. It had lent money, diplomatic backing and a powerful media platform not only to the mother organisation, founded in Egypt in 1928, but to a range of affiliated and like-minded Islamist groups across the region. Qatar’s leaders leant ideologically towards the Brotherhood’s conservative but centrist Islamism. They also saw its tentacular reach as a force-multiplier for their own ambitions, and wagered on Brotherhood-style Islamism as the political wave of the Arab future.

Indeed, in the Arab Spring of 2011 Brothers and their fellow travellers won elections in Tunisia and Egypt, and took a lead in the bloodier uprisings of Syria, Libya and Yemen. The Palestinian branch, Hamas, had resorted to armed violence against Israel since the 1990s and took control of the Gaza Strip. Turkey, in the electoral grip of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK party, seemed to offer an economically successful model of democratic Islamist rule: a bigger, modern-looking Brother.”

Read the rest here.

The article goes on to discuss the “the apparent loss of Qatar as a patron.”

The notion that Qatar has ceased its patronage of the Muslim Brotherhood appears to have begun in September when the GMBDW reported on the announcement by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that a number of its leaders had been asked by Qatar to leave the country. As we have said in that and other posts, the GMBDW has doubts that Qatar has fully withdrawn its patronage of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. To begin with, we do not see evidence that Qatar has done anything to dismantle the significant infrastructure located in Qatar propping up the Brotherhood and which we described in September as follows:

Qatar is a major sponsor of the Global Muslim Brotherhood networks though its official and quasi-official organizations such as Qatar Charity, the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, and the Qatar Foundation. Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi and Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal are also hosted and resident in Qatar which itself is a major funder of Hamas. The GMBDW reported in late August that the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), a Turkish group close to the Global Muslim Brotherhood, has signed a ‘strategic cooperation agreement’ with Qatar. Earlier this month, we reported that Qatar Charity had sponsored an conference in Istanbul at which GMB leaders announced a $1 billion fundraising campaign for Gaza and the launch of a new organization appearing to unify Hamas fundraising and flotilla efforts.

In addition, just yesterday we reported on on the launch of multiple new Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated TV stations, mostly located in Turkey  and said to be financially backed by Qatar.

Until we see some change in this sort of backing by Qatar for the Global Muslim Brotherhood, we will remain skeptical on these mainstream media assertions that Qatar has stopped its support of the Brotherhood.

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